This oldie-but-goodie tip is born of experience. And given that we are heading into the summer travel season, it bore repeating and I had to pass it along. Last year, two times that I have had a hotel to book, I searched early and found some reasonable deals. I booked through the hotel’s website directly and waited patiently.
A couple of weeks before I was scheduled to check in, I started to check the websites again. I checked Trivago, Kayak and the hotel websites. Still no change, so I waited. Same thing occurred the week before.
Then, I caught a break. The day before my scheduled check-ins, the prices changed. In one instance, the price dropped $50 for the night. I quickly booked that rate and then (after getting the confirmation), I cancelled the other reservation.
The other savings instance the offer was a bit different. The rate was the same but included in the same rate was a $50 food and beverage credit. This was perfect because I had planned to spend a quiet evening by the hotel pool and grab a bite of room service. I immediately called the hotel front desk (not the main reservations line they always want to connect you with), and told them about the new credit. I didn’t even have to cancel my rate; they just added the credit on to my account.
Something similar happened a few years ago when I was booking a hotel before and after a cruise out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. When I originally booked, there were no points rates available, but a week or two before the cruise, there was a points option that would have allowed a small number of points plus only $60 a night. Score.
So the moral of the story is check early and late. As hotels get closer to the dates and realize they have a number of vacancies, a lot of times you can score a sweet deal or some added perks to lessen your bottom line.
And always remember to look for special rates. If you have AAA, most hotels throw in additional discounts. That’s how I got the $50 food and beverage credit: it was on a AAA deal. Other special rates include those for senior citizens, veterans, and even residents of certain states. Starwood properties, for example, often offer special rates for in-state residents.
For more tips and tricks on how to get the best travel deals, sign up for the BarrisTourista and get a 5-Page Travel Deals Mini Guide with ways to scoop up great deals!